In this digital era, it is important for our students to be equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and dispositions to thrive in an interconnected, diverse and rapidly-changing world.
2. COVID-19 has made it even more imperative for us to build on the progress made by our students during full Home-Based Learning (HBL) over the Circuit Breaker period, by making Blended Learning a key feature of the schooling experience to further develop their ability to be self-directed, passionate and life-long learners. Through Blended Learning, regularly scheduled HBL Days will complement teaching and learning in schools. Students' learning during HBL Days will be supported by the National Digital Literacy Programme (NDLP) that was announced earlier this year, which will ensure that all secondary students will own a personal learning device (PLD) by end-2021.
Implementing Blended Learning at Secondary and Pre-University Levels
3. From Term 3, 2021, all secondary schools and junior colleges/Millennia Institute (JC/MI) will start to implement Blended Learning for some levels. By Term 4, 2022, all secondary schools and JC/MI will have implemented Blended Learning at all levels.
4. As part of Blended Learning, students will learn what is prescribed by the curriculum through a mix of home-based and in-school activities, and leverage both online and offline approaches to learning. This will provide students with more opportunities to learn at their own pace and to be empowered to take charge of their learning. There will also be an emphasis on student-initiated learning, whereby dedicated time and space will be provided to allow students to pursue their own interests and learn outside of the curriculum.
5. Schools will have flexibility in the planning of HBL Days within these parameters:
Frequency: HBL Days will be scheduled on a regular basis throughout the year so that the skills and dispositions for self-directed learning can become habitual. For more details on frequency of HBL Days, please refer to the Annex.
Structure: HBL Days will be less structured than a typical day in school to provide students scope to exercise self-directed learning, and will comprise time for both curriculum coverage and student-initiated learning.
Subjects: Schools will determine the subjects and topics to be delivered on HBL Days, considering factors such as curriculum time available for the subjects, nature of the discipline and appropriateness of the activities to be delivered through HBL.
6. Students who need to return to school on HBL Days can do so in consultation with their schools and their teachers. These include high-needs students, students who require closer supervision, and those who lack a home environment conducive for learning. These students will conduct their HBL Days according to the school's planned schedule, similar to those who are at home.
Roll-Out of Personal Learning Devices in Secondary Schools
7. Blended Learning will be supported by the use of educational technology such as the Singapore Student Learning Space, and by device provisioning under the NDLP whereby all secondary school students will own PLDs by end of 2021. This will be done in two phases – Phase 1 (86 schools) and Phase 2 (66 schools) will receive the PLDs by Term 2 and Term 3 of 2021 respectively.
8. MOE's bulk tender will lower the cost of the PLDs for students. Singaporean students can use their Edusave Account to pay for a PLD selected by the school. A one-off Edusave top-up of $200 was provided in April 2020 to all eligible Singaporean students in primary and secondary schools, including those in Special Education (SPED) schools. With this one-off top-up and annual Edusave contributions, most students will have sufficient funds in their Edusave Account to pay for the device. MOE and the schools are committed to work with families to ensure that no secondary school student who should have a PLD will be without access to a PLD due to financial reasons.
9. In particular, MOE will provide additional support for all students on MOE's Financial Assistance Scheme. These students will be provided with a subsidy before the Edusave Account is tapped on to pay for the PLD. Should there be insufficient funds in the Edusave Account to pay the remaining costs, MOE will provide further support so that no out-of-pocket payment will be required. Students who require financial assistance can approach their schools for help.
10. Graduating students in 2021 will not be included in the roll-out of devices as they have less than one year in the school left. Nevertheless, schools will be given flexibility to decide if they wish to facilitate the purchase of PLDs for their graduating students.
11. MOE is also working with SPED schools to develop and implement plans to strengthen students' digital literacy with the use of PLDs. These schools will customise their plans to cater to the special educational needs of their students, and likewise, arrangements will be made for those who are on financial assistance to be given additional support for a school-prescribed PLD.
12. Under the revised Character and Citizenship Education (CCE 2021) curriculum, there will be a stronger focus on cyber wellness education. Students will be taught to recognise online risks, use technology responsibly and manage cyber issues that could have an impact on their social-emotional well-being. The PLDs will also be installed with Device Management Applications to provide a more regulated digital environment to support cyberwellness. These efforts will better equip our students to learn using the device, and be able to navigate the online space safely and responsibly.
13. MOE will also be conducting a small-scale pilot for students in five primary schools in 2021 to study the use of PLDs in teaching and learning at the primary school level, and how it might impact younger students, before arriving at any decision on having PLDs for primary levels. The five primary schools are: Chua Chu Kang Primary, Frontier Primary, Junyuan Primary, River Valley Primary and Yio Chu Kang Primary.